British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to deliver a speech outside Downing Street in London, the UK, September 2 2019. Picture: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to deliver a speech outside Downing Street in London, the UK, September 2 2019. Picture: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

London — Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK on notice that it faces the threat of an election within weeks, as the political crisis engulfing the country’s divorce from the European Union deepened.

Johnson will seek to trigger a snap general election on October 14 if he loses a crunch vote in parliament this week, when his enemies will try to force him to delay Brexit, according to a senior official in his government.

Johnson’s allies are considering an emergency poll as he battles enemies in parliament trying to force him to delay Brexit by three months rather than allow him to take the UK out of the EU with no deal on October 31.

In a hastily arranged statement outside his Downing Street office on Monday evening, the premier said he did not want an election. But he signalled that an emergency poll could follow if he loses the fight with his opponents  — as he will never agree to their plan.

“I want everybody to know – there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay,” Johnson said in his statement to the television cameras. “Let’s let our negotiators get on with their work, without that Sword of Damocles over their necks and without an election. I don’t want an election. You don’t want an election.”

Talk of another national vote highlights the make-or-break nature of this week for Johnson’s leadership and for the country as a whole. The political turmoil and uncertainty over Brexit has hit the pound in recent weeks, and the pound was down 0.8% on Monday.

Bloomberg